FARC Peace Deal with the Government of Colombia is Rejected by Voters: Enormous Apathy
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The people of Colombia not only rejected the proposed peace deal between the government and FARC but enormous apathy also highlights the divisions within society. Officially, just over 50 percent rejected the deal in a very close referendum. However, the real issue is that over 60 percent of people showed complete apathy by refusing to take part in the referendum.
Only last week the leader of FARC, Timoleon Jimenez, signed a peace agreement after four years of tough negotiations with the government of Colombia. Yet, the President of Colombia is deemed to have given too much away according to individuals who voted against the proposed peace deal.
President Juan Manuel Santos must be aghast by the situation because he had hoped to turn a new page in the history of Colombia. Despite his dismay, the president made it clear that he would continue to work on achieving a final peace deal.
The BBC states about “no” voters that “They also balked at the government’s plan to pay demobilized Farc rebels a monthly stipend and to offer those wanting to start a business financial help.”
According to voters opposed to the peace deal, claims the BBC, “…this amounted to a reward for criminal behavior while honest citizens were left to struggle financially.”
Other issues rankled many individuals, therefore, the former leader of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, focused on this. This notably applies to allowing reserved seats for FARC despite this appearing unconstitutional and outside the boundaries of democracy. At the same time, individuals disenfranchised by both the government and party system – and alienated by the ideology and militancy of FARC, decided to stay away from the referendum. Indeed, an astonishing majority of just over 60 percent of the people of Colombia refused to participate in the vote.
Reuters says, “The FARC, which began as a peasant revolt in 1964, would have been able to compete in the 2018 presidential and legislative elections and have 10 unelected congressional seats guaranteed through 2026…That enraged “No” supporters, including powerful former president Alvaro Uribe, who argued the rebels should serve jail terms and never be permitted to enter politics.”
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